Belichick made the call to let Manningham have his night

Via ESPNBoston:

Bill Belichick dared the New York Giants to throw to Mario Manningham and paid the price.

Before the Giants final game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLVI, the New England Patriots coach told his team not to get beat by receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

“This is still a Cruz and Nicks game,” Belichick was heard saying in audio recorded for NFL Films. “I know we’re right on them. It’s tight but those are still the guys. Make them go to Manningham, make them go to (Bear) Pascoe. Let’s make sure we get Cruz and Nicks.”

The Giants started the drive at their own 12-yard line with 3:46 left in the game and trailing 17-15. On the first play, Giants quarterback Eli Manning dropped a perfect pass down the sidelines to Manningham who somehow made the catch and got two feet down for a 38-yard gain.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was also miked for NFL Films and after watching the replay of the grab, he said “He caught it.”

The Patriots challenged whether Manningham was in bounds. They lost, the Giants were in business and went on to score the go-ahead touchdown. The Patriots actually allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to waltz into the end zone with about a minute left so they would get the ball back.

Before the score, Patriots Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork are overheard telling players in the huddle: “We gotta let them score, got to let them score.”

(Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

The Patriots had been forced to give up the ball after receiver Wes Welker failed to make a tough catch that would have given the Pats a key first down as they tried to eat up the clock.

Referee John Parry, talking to another official, was caught on tape saying of the Welker play: “That was the game.”

Among other interesting audio released by the league, Giants players were trying to figure out the health of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. He had suffered a high ankle sprain in the AFC title game and didn’t appear to be at full speed in the Super Bowl.

In the third quarter, Giants linebacker Michael Boley says: “Hey, 87’s a (expletive) decoy, he’s a decoy. .. He’s about to be outta here.”

I think everyone knew that Cruz and Nicks were going to be players the Patriots wanted to stop but I don’t think they expected Manningham to go off like he did in the fourth quarter. Also, I really liked that they got commentary of the referee’s saying that the game was over after that Welker missed catch. That’s something fans wouldn’t expect from referee’s to talk about the game while it is happening. I guess they knew something special would happen. Well something special did happen, The Giants won their second Super Bowl over the Patriots…

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